Parade Marks its 50th Edition


By George Gore Browne, Special to the Independent

The Patriots Day Parade sets out Saturday, March 5, led by grand marshal and native son Kelly Boyd and honored patriot of the year, local resident Marine Lt. Col. Carlos K. McAfee.

Scenes captured from the 2015 parade. Photos by Mitch Ridder.
Scenes captured from the 2015 parade. Photos by Mitch Ridder.

McAfee’s selfless direction of a medical evacuation during a 1966 firefight in Vietnam earned him the Naval Cross, the Navy’s second highest decoration for combat gallantry. “Through his valiant efforts, he prevented the possible annihilation of a Marine battalion by a numerically superior enemy force, and has undoubtedly saved many lives,” the citation reads in part.

“I’m delighted to participate, but this award is not about Carlos McAfee,” said McAfee. “It represents not only the military, but also all the first responders in this country.”

The parade that begins from Laguna Beach High School runs from 11 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. Floats will start on Park Avenue, turning right onto Glenneyre Street before turning right again onto Forest Avenue, ending just past City Hall. The farmers market will be closed for parade day, and downtown street closures will begin as early as 10 a.m. Free trolley service will begin operating at 9 a.m. to help alleviate parade-related traffic. The free trolleys will run along Coast Highway, from Cajon Street in North Laguna to the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point. Closed streets include portions of Legion, Park, Glenneyre, Forest and Ocean avenues. Once the parade is over, an awards ceremony will take place at the Art-A-Fair/Tivoli Too grounds.

3 parade ridder_johnte_hall_drum_major_third_marine_aircraft_wing_band_3-7-15_0045Eighty-eight entries are scheduled to walk, roll or trot along the parade this year. Newcomers include Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, Drama Kids International, LOCA Arts Education and Laguna Beach Lions Club, a service organization re-launching after a 34-year absence. The parade serves as the club’s inaugural effort to promote their return to Laguna Beach, says club member Justin Myers.

With the Laguna Beach Water District celebrating its 90th anniversary and its president honored as grand marshall, district staff decided to return to the parade line-up after a long absence. Asked about the district’s entry, spokesman Chris Regan said, “it’s going to be big, it’s going to be patriotic and it will include a conservation message.”

3 parade ridder_wayne_baglin_citizen_of_the_year_patriots_day_parade_3-7-15_0180Other honorees include citizen of the year Stu Saffer, chosen for his involvement and contributions to the community; junior citizens Elle Mahdavi and Alex Rounaghi, selected by school staff based on their scholarship and service; artist of the year Dion Wright; and athletes of the year Nick Hernandez and Sam Stinnett, skimboard champs.

The annual community parade is organized by a non-profit with a mission of fostering love of community and country. “We are like a well oiled machine,” parade president

Charlie Quilter said of this year’s preparations. He was quick to credit the team of Ed Hanke, Kathleen Fay and Sandi Werthe. Quilter explains Laguna Beach’s first parade took place during a time of adversity for the country. “The United States was deep into the Vietnam War and new forms of counter-culture were arriving.” The first parade on Feb. 22, 1967, was led by Walter and Cordelia Knott of Knott’s Berry Farm as co-grand marshalls. “Now in it’s 50th year, this is an event that has been taken part in by three generations and is a rite of passage for Laguna Beach residents. Every resident is either watching or taking part.” This year, local radio station KX 93.5 FM will stream live audio from the event and will later post a video of the event on Youtube.

Today, the honored patriot McAfee and his wife live in a Top of the World home custom designed for them by the late Mark Singer, an architect they both admired. Their patriotic roles now come in a different venue. They’ve made a late-in-life career change and in the last 10 years have appeared in nearly 100 films, including “Independence Day” and “Green Mile.”

George Gore Browne is a journalism student and a Laguna Beach Independent intern.

88 Entries in Patriots Day Parade

The line-up is as follows:

  1. Laguna Beach Police Motor Escort
  2. Parade Banner—L.B. Girl Scouts
  3. Theme Banner—L.B. Boy Scouts
  4. American Legion/Veterans of Foreign Wars Combined Color Guard
  5. 3d Marine Aircraft Wing Band, Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar
  6. Parade President Charles Quilter
  7. Grand Marshal Kelly Boyd
  8. South Orange County Vietnam Veterans
  9. Honored Patriot Lt. Col. Carlos McAfee USMC(Ret.)
  10. Laguna Beach City Council
  11. Citizen of the Year Stu Saffer
  12. Laguna Beach High School Marching Band
  13. Junior Citizens of the Year Elle Mahdavi and Alexander Rounaghi
  14. Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education
  15. SchoolPower
  16. Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association
  17. Sawdust Festival
  18. Artist of the Year Dion Wright
  19. Laguna College of Art and Design
  20. Laguna Beach Water Polo Club
  21. Athletes of the Year Nicholas Hernandez and Sam Stinnett
  22. Thurston Middle School Band
  23. Exchange Club of Laguna Beach
  24. Sons of American Revolution, Orange County Chapter
  25. Patience Wright Chapter, Daughters of American Revolution
  26. Laguna Beach Unified School District Elementary Band
  27. Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach
  28. La Playa Center & Orange County Model A Ford Club
  29. Mini Madness
  30. HIP District
  31. Pageant of the Masters
  32. Boy Scout Troop 35 and Cub Scout Pack 35
  33. Laguna Beach Girl Scouts
  34. Laguna Beach Parents Club
  35. StuNewsLaguna
  36. Kyne Dance Academy
  37. Laguna Beach Garden Club
  38. Capistrano Valley Model A Club
  39. Laguna Beach Seniors
  40. Laguna Beach Little League
  41. Tivoli Terrace & Tivoli Too
  42. Laguna Beach Library
  43. Townsend Junior High Band, Chino Hills
  44. Coastline Pilot
  45. Laguna Beach County Water District
  46. Pet Rescue Center
  47. Laguna Beach Police Department
  48. Barstow Junior High Band
  49. Blue Bell Foundation for Cats
  50. Pacific Marine Mammal Center
  51. Rotary Club of Laguna Beach
  52. JJ and the Habibis, Laguna Beach Belly Dancers
  53. Laguna Beach Fire Department
  54. Y-Adventure Guides
  55. Ralphs Grocery
  56. Palmdale High School Band
  57. Mission Hospital Laguna Beach
  58. AIDS Services Foundation of Orange County
  59. Laguna Tunes
  60. Laguna Beach Community Clinic
  61. Laguna Beach Lions Club
  62. Susan G. Komen Orange County
  63. Fountain Valley Marching Band
  64. Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach
  65. Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce
  66. Laguna Beach Legal
  67. Oak Avenue Middle School Band, Temple City
  68. Laguna Board of Realtors
  69. KX 93.5 Radio
  70. Drama Kids International
  71. Assistance League of Laguna Beach
  72. Art Cars
  73. Antelope Valley High School Band, Lancaster
  74. Laguna Playhouse
  75. LOCA Arts Education
  76. No Square Theatre
  77. Transition Laguna Beach
  78. Bassett High School Band, La Puente
  79. World War II Rangers Lead the Way
  80. Laguna Laughter Club
  81. Ruby’s Diner
  82. Honors Chorus of Top of the World/El Morro Elementary Schools
  83. Ebell Club and Philanthropy of Laguna Beach
  84. Mermaid Cove
  85. United Studios of Self Defense Laguna Beach Dojo
  86. Oaks Middle School Band, Ontario
  87. Waste Management of Orange County
  88. Spurs & Satin


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